Bus users in South Holland can breathe a huge sigh of relief after strong indications this week that four cross-county services are set to continue.
Lobbying by parish, district and county councillors, as well as MP John Hayes, has led bus operator Stagecoach to confirm that it intends continue running the 505 service between Spalding and King’s Lynn.
I welcome the continuity of services indicated by Stagecoach, especially the 505, as any reduction in bus services would have been detrimental to our rural areaGeorge Scott, chairman of Spalding and Peterborough Transport Forum
In a letter to Mr Hayes seen by the Spalding Guardian, Stagecoach East managing director Andy Campbell also confirmed it had made an offer to continue operating services 49 (Spalding to Sutton St James), 49A (Sutton St James to Wisbech) and 50 (Long Sutton to Wisbech), all three being “out to tender”, according to Mr Campbell.
However, Stagecoach plans to make the 505 a half-hourly, rather than three-an-hour, service in the future to safeguard its “long-term future”, said Mr Campbell.
George Scott, chairman of Spalding and Peterborough Transport Forum, said: “I welcome the continuity of services indicated by Stagecoach, especially the 505, as any reduction in bus services would have been detrimental to our rural area.
“I believe it is acceptable to reduce the frequency of 505 buses from three every hour to two, ensuring its continued operation.”
Uncertainty about the bus services arose last month when Stagecoach announced a review of its Norfolk operations, with the 505 set to move from its base in King’s Lynn to Long Sutton.
Mr Hayes said: “It was a very good, joint effort by everyone working together to preserve these vital bus services and I was very pleased, and proud, to be able to speak up for local people.”
A spokesman for Gedney Parish Council said: “We would like to thank our MP for his efforts on behalf of parishioners in the retention of the 505 service which is welcomed.
“Gedney Parish Council accepts the reduction in frequency of the 505 service from every 20 minutes to every 30 minutes, provided, as stated by Stagecoach East, that this ensures the retention of the service going forward.”
Pastor Ross Dean, chairman of Fleet Parish Council, said: “This is very good news, compared to what was feared.
“However sadly, so many buses seem to pass through Fleet with hardly anyone on board and we all have to try to use the buses, or risk losing them.”